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United Nations

Human Rights Council Creates Mandate on Iran

United Nations Human Rights Council
March 24, 2011
Press Release

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Action on Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in Iran

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/25/Rev.1) regarding the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 7 against, and 14 abstentions, the Council decides to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, to report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, to present an interim report to the Assembly at its sixty-sixth session and to submit a report to the Council for its consideration at its nineteenth session; calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to permit access to visit the country as well as all necessary information to enable the fulfilment of the mandate; and requests the Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with the resources necessary to fulfil the mandate, within existing resources.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (22):Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Maldives, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Zambia.

Against (7):Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Russian Federation.

Abstentions (14):Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

JAN KNUTSSON (Sweden), introducing resolution L.25/Rev.1, said this procedural resolution aimed at appointing a Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. Sweden said it was the responsibility of this Council to use all of its mechanisms to address the issue of human rights abuses in Iran. Sweden was encouraged by the positive responses it had received during the consultation process.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), introducing draft resolution L. 25/Rev.1, said that the United States was gravely concerned about the situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran where respect of human rights had deteriorated dramatically in the last year. Since the latest report on the human rights situation in Iran to the General Assembly in September 2010, the situation had worsened and the report documented imputation, flogging and acts of torture carried out by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and death sentences of men and women by stoning. They hoped that this resolution would help to address the human rights situation in Iran and they were pleased that the Council would carried out this step and they thanked the members of the Council for this support in a shared request to promote human rights around the world.

The President of the Council informed that there were 2 additional co-sponsors for this draft resolution.

ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in a general comment, said on principle the Organization of the Islamic Conference did not support country mandates because they were counterproductive. Pakistan believed that the work of the Council should be guided by constructive international dialogue and cooperation. The international community agreed to address specific conditions through the Universal Periodic Review as this mechanism ensured universal coverage and equal treatment of all States. The Universal Periodic Review provided the right space to review human rights concerns.

SEYED MOHAMMAD REZA SAJJADI (Iran), speaking as a concerned country, said that as the Human Rights Council was poised to take action on the draft resolution, Iran wished to draw attention to the fact that the main organiser of the draft resolution was the United States and added that the role of that country was such that the international community had decided to suspend its membership in the Human Rights Commission. The membership of the United States in the Human Rights Council was a great setback, had a destructive role and derailed the Council from functioning properly. At the international level, the United States had always been supporter of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and through that support the Government of the United States had contributed to the massive violations of the human rights of Palestinians and Arabs. In Iraq and Afghanistan thousands had been massacred, while prisoners had been tortured. At the domestic level, different forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance against different groups, and violations of the rights of indigenous peoples were taking place.

The approach of Iran to the promotion and protection of human rights was based and emanated from its religious and cultural background and its international commitments. The Government of Iran had worked wholeheartedly to ensure the human rights of its people. At the international level, Iran had extended full cooperation to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and had extended invitations to Special Rapporteurs and had received them on six different occasions. Providing true and timely communications at the request of Special Procedures had been a constant. The Human Rights Council had reviewed and adopted the Universal Periodic Review Outcome on the Islamic Republic of Iran and they had already extended an invitation to the High Commissioner to visit the country this year. The Council must not be the domain of the few and must avoid politicization and double standards. Iran believed that the travesty of introducing draft resolution on Iran was a disservice to the people of Iran and should be rejected. Iran invited States to vote against the draft resolution. Whatever the result of the action would be, Iran would continue its efforts to the promotion and protection of human rights which were inherent, genuine and deeply rooted in its values.

ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said as a matter of principle Pakistan did not support country mandates and believed that the existing mechanisms provided the right space to discuss concerns in an objective manner and discussing human rights concerns in a non plurality manner was the best way to obtain cooperation. Iran had participated last year in the Universal Periodic Review in a constructive manner and many States made several recommendations and the debate led to the acceptance by Iran of most of the recommendations which reflected the readiness to improve their human rights situation. The Council should pursue engagement and dialogue and if this did not happen then the Council would follow the same fate of the Human Rights Commission. This draft resolution did not conform to the constructive spirit of the Human Rights Council and Pakistan would call for a vote on this resolution and would vote “no”.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Persia and Iran throughout history were always easy prey for Western interests. The Shah of Iran was a great friend of the United States and nobody cared if the Shah had oppressed his people and the United States Government even provided nuclear technology to Iran under the Shah. After the revolution in Iran, then that country became a target for regime change. This resolution was being used as a pretext to perhaps use military actions against Iran. Cuba rejected this resolution. Iran said it had invited the High Commissioner for Human Rights and even many thematic Rapporteurs from the Council to visit the county. The passage of this resolution would be seen as a political victory for those building a political or military aggression against Iran and Cuba would vote against the resolution.

LAURA DUPUY LASSERRE (Uruguay), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Uruguay would abstain in the vote. Uruguay was a staunch defender of human rights and considered Special Procedures to be crucial to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. However, the establishment of Special Procedures must be examined in light of whether this would contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. It was positive to see that Iran had invited the High Commissioner to visit the country; it was a priority to keep open the dialogue with the country in question. Uruguay did not agree with some stances of Iran, such as statements on Israel or denial of the Holocaust, application of the death penalty, particularly to minors, and stoning, among others. Uruguay asked Iran to allow visits by the Special Procedures because with those mechanisms in place the democratic processes would be taken further.

XIA JINGGE (China), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that China was of the view of dealing with human rights issues through dialogue and cooperation and not through the practice of using pressure. China hoped that the international community would have a constructive dialogue with Iran and hoped that it would recognize the efforts of the country in improving its human rights situation. For this reason, China would vote against this resolution.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Brazil believed that every country without exception had challenges to overcome in human rights. Brazil perceived the aim of the United Nations human rights system to be to improve human rights in Member States. In the former Commission, Brazil had voted in favour of a mandate for Iran but in 2001 it abstained on the basis of a commitment made by the Iranian Government to enhance its cooperation with the system. Since late 2005 and despite requests made by mandate holders no visits had taken place to Iran. Brazil said this resolution should be seen as the expression of a common judgment that it was important, necessary and imperative for all Member States to cooperate with all human rights mechanisms. The non observance of the moratorium on the death penalty was of particular concern to Brazil in Iran and in other countries. Brazil expected those member countries who sponsored this resolution would apply the same standards to other countries that did not engage in cooperation with human rights mechanisms. Brazil would vote in favour of the resolution.

CHEIKH AHMED OULD ZAHAF (Mauritania), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that since Iran had explained and demonstrated the desire to cooperate with the Human Rights Council mechanisms and since it had undergone the Universal Periodic Review process and had accepted most of the recommendations addressed to them, Mauritania believed that this resolution would not have any practical consequences on the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran. Mauritania preferred dialogue to be established with Iran in order to advance human rights in this country. That was why Mauritania would vote against this draft resolution.

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